Tag Archives: Kelantan

Kedai Kopi Din Tokyo

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This traditional coffee shop in Kota Bharu has nothing to do with Japan. Feels like the kopitiams in Singapore with its old town ambiance and good local coffee but instead of tables and chairs it has two long wooden benches for communal use, a ‘kopi bar’. I’ll never forget the very hospitable proprietor who handed 5 ringgit to my 8 yr old daughter as spontaneous gift. My total bill was I think 8 ringgit for 2 mugs of coffee and nasi berlauk.

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Native refreshments

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Micro-Retailing Spices

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Spice packs at Siti Khadijah Market in Kota Bharu

Pasar Snapshots: Keropok of all sorts

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Keropok is the traditional chips of the Malays, particularly in Brunei, Indonesia, and Malaysia. The pictures here were taken from a market in Kelantan.

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Pasar Snapshots: Kuih-Muih

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If Philippines has all sorts of kakanin, then Malaysia has all sorts of kuih-muih. Whereas the kakanin is something that you have to deliberately find because native food has taken a back seat over Western bites, kuih-muih contrastingly can be found in cafes, airports, streets, markets, everywhere – even in Kuala Lumpur. How nice it is to have something uniquely Southeast Asian that remains to be part of everyday breakfast, snack, tea or coffee accompaniment, or dessert.

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Nasi Tumpang

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Nasi tumpang is a Kelantanese breakfast staple similar to nasi lemak but the rice with viand inside the banana leaf packaging is more compact in conical form. Its packaging makes it a portable meal (just like the banana leaf wrapped nasi lemak). The texture of the rice inside is like the ketupat – so dense. I suppose nasi tumpang is always eaten cold like the onigiri in Japan but I find its curry-sambal flavor layering quite appealing.

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Nasi tumpang served by my host in Kota Bharu for breakfast

Hygiene Paraphernalia

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Hand wash kettle

 

Nasi Kerabu

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Blue rice and fried fish

In Kelantan, they have blue rice. It’s not the grains that are blue, rather it became blue because of the blue flower known in Malay as bunga telang, a natural food color just like how turmeric is used as yellow food color.

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You can see toasted grated coconut topping while in the process of putting together my nasi kerabu dish

Nasi kerabu is a dish of blue rice with toasted grated coconut, herbs, some sauce, vegetable garnishing, and keropok and is normally eaten with viand. When you mix the rice and vegetables with your right bare hand, then use hand as utensil as well, and you find the combination of flavors quite appealing,  then you’ll feel like a true blue Kelantanese.

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Hand mixed nasi kerabu with fried fish, keropok, and solok lada

Police Tiny Box

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I asked my host regarding the purpose of those small tin boxes that says “polis.” From what I gathered from her, the policemen doing rounds make use of those boxes as receptacle for their logs.

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Pasar Snapshots: Kelantan Ketupat

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Kelantan's ketupat is triangular

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The other ketupat at the left side is similar to the hanging rice in Visayas region of the Philippines

Sidewalk Plant Pot

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Bougainvillea in a pot

Greening the sidewalk of Kota Bharu using intricately designed plant pots with stand.

Pasar Snapshots: Cendol et al

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Packs of cendol (green ones) and similar food stuff at Siti Khadijah Market in Kota Bharu.

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Pasar Snapshots: Jar Covers

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Assortment of sauces, pickled fruits, or pickled vegetables packaged in jars with floral lids at Siti Khadijah Market in Kota Bharu, Kelantan.

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Pasar Snapshots: Telur Penyu

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Telur penyu or turtle eggs inside Siti Khadijah Market in Kota Bharu.

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Most Picturesque Tropical Market

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The produce section of local traditional markets have something in common – full of colors. But there is one market in Southeast Asia that stood out when viewed in its entirety. Literally, in a bigger picture, the top view sight of Siti Khadijah Market is truly beautiful.

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The multitude of colors coming from the produce, bottle covers, traditional garbs of the sellers and customers, and the walls of the building make the entire scene picturesque. It’s full of life and its crudeness is its charm. Hoping the look will stay the same for long time.

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Keropok Lekor

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Fish sausage known as keropok lekor

If there is one thing that stood out among the curiosities in the east coast of Malaysia, then it’s the keropok lekor (fish sausage). So far I have only seen it being served as fried from the street vendors to market eating stalls, and in a kopitiam’s menu.

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Keropok lekor in the market

Keropok lekor has a strong fish taste that unlike the fish balls I’ve snacked on in the Philippines, this one has definitely more fish in its fish:flour ratio.

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Deep fried thinly sliced keropok lekor for snacking

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Keropok lekor as a common street food

By the way, as I write this I kept thinking that I’ve seen this thing somewhere in Sabah. So I perused my Kota Kinabalu photographs and found two pictures. At that time I had no idea what lekor was. It was a one-time encounter unlike the plentiful lekor encounters in Kota Bharu.

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Kota Kinabalu: Stall sign at the night market that says lekor

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Kota Kinabalu: Deep fried keropok lekor at the night market

Patin

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Patin is a freshwater fish, a river fish

Inside Siti Khadijah market, one can notice plenty of patin fish.  Looks like a very common food fish in Kota Bharu much like the tilapia fish in Manila.

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Cleaning several patin for a customer

Logical Place for a Tissue Box

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The most logical place for a pull-out tissue box for this taxi driver in Kota Bharu is on the ceiling, in an upside down mode. I must agree. It’s visible yet not obstructing both the driver and passengers’ view. Secure. Most importantly, it’s very convenient to reach out and pull down a piece of tissue rather than up.

River Waltz

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Approaching the jetty of our host as we end our river cruise

It was around 10:00 in the evening when we cruised the Pengkalan Datu River. There were no artificial lights seen along the way except from distant houses, from the torch of lone fisherman seen occasionally by the riverbank working on his net or trap, and from the headlights of the boat navigator. The water was so eerily still and quiet except for the sound of some huge fish jumping now and then.

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We cruised that night on a boat just like this one

We were actually cruising deep in the night to see the fireflies. Those insects must be huge for I can see them flicker from distant trees and bushes as we ride along the river. Too bad the moon was very bright that the simultaneous flickering was not that spectacular. On the other hand, the full moon was perfect. It made the night so beautiful while we waltz along the river.

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Pengkalan Datu River at sunset

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Pengkalan Datu River at sunrise

Modern Tradition

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Ready-to-wear tudung with visor on display at a bazaar in Kota Bharu. Pins not needed, nor folding and adjustments when putting it on.  One can just quickly slip it on and off.  A modernize head cover for traditional purposes.

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No GST

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With all the fuss right now on Malaysia’s GST (Goods and Services Tax) which was implemented just last week (April 1, 2015), I find this toilet usage fee sign at the jetty for Kampung Laut in Kota Bharu quite funny.

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